Two RCR drivers are top 10 in the first Daytona Duel

Richard Childress Racing drivers Ryan Newman and Austin Dillon finished 10th and 19th in the first Daytona Duel. In the second 60-lap event, Paul Menard finished fourth.

Paul Menard Finishes Fourth in Duel 150 No. 2 at Daytona, Will Start 10th in Daytona 500

Paul Menard and the No. 27 Peak/Menards Chevrolet SS team of Richard Childress Racing had a task ahead of them before the green flag even waved over the 24-car field in the second Duel 150 at Daytona International Speedway on Thursday night.

Paul Menard, Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
Paul Menard, Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: Covy Moore

Despite posting the 10th-fastest time the previous Sunday in Daytona 500 qualifying, they were caught up in a multi-car wreck during practice on Wednesday afternoon forcing them to their back-up Chevrolet.

The result was starting at the tail end of the field for the 60-lap race to determine the final starting line-up for this Sunday's Daytona 500. Menard utilized a conservative strategy for the early stages of the race to see how the back-up car was going to perform. When the field went single-file racing by lap eight, he was in 12he place.

After making his only pit stop on lap 36, to only take on fuel, he returned to action in eighth place. During the white-flag lap, he worked his way to fifth and used some side drafting, decisive moves and ECR Engines power to take the checkered flag in fourth place. As a result, he will start 10th in the 56th running of the Daytona 500.

Paul Menard (Start - 10th / Finish - 4th / Laps Led - 0 / Points - NA): "The car was pretty solid and I was able to side draft pretty good with some cars out there, but not all of them. I'd try to make a run and the momentum seemed to stall out a little. When I went to make something happen to gain positions, it didn't' work out. But, we did well on our gas-only pit stop. I learned a lot of things we can use in Sunday's Daytona 500 and everybody at RCR - the fab shop, body shop, ECR engines - they build fast race cars as we have shown all Speedweeks. All of our cars have been really quick."

Ryan Newman Finishes 10th in the First Daytona Duel and Will Start 19th in the 56th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway

No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS driver Ryan Newman finished 10th in Thursday night's first Daytona Duel that helped determine starting positions three through 31 for Sunday's Daytona 500.

Ryan Newman, Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
Ryan Newman, Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: Covy Moore

Newman used the 60-lap, caution-free event to shake down his CAT Chevy for the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race of the season. Shortly after the halfway mark, Newman raced in sixth position and reported no handling issues.

The first, and only time, crew chief Luke Lambert called his driver to pit road was on lap 38 for two right-side tires and fuel. Newman returned to the track to draft with Chevrolet teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr., for the final 20 laps and crossed the line in 10th place. The result secured the 19th-starting spot in the Daytona 500 for the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet team.

Ryan Newman (Start - 5 / Finish - 10 / Laps Led - 0 / Points - N/A): "The outside lane won the race. The outside lane won the start of the race and the outside lane won the end of the race. I had a big run there at the end and I got blocked. From that point on, I just didn't want to take the risk and damage this CAT Chevrolet. It's a really good car. Like I say, my race isn't until Sunday and we will see how we do then. The guys had a good pit stop and I feel confident. All and all, I really feel good about our chances and I hope I can make another trip to Daytona's victory lane on Sunday."

Austin Dillon Finishes in 19th Place in Duel at Daytona; Slated to Start Daytona 500 from the Pole Position on Sunday

Austin Dillon drove Richard Childress Racing's No. 3 Dow Chevrolet SS to a 19th-place finish in the first of two Duel qualifying races contested at Daytona International Speedway on Thursday evening, after leading the field to the green-flag for the 60-lap event.

Austin Dillon, Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet leads
Austin Dillon, Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet leads

Photo by: Covy Moore

Dillon chose the high line at the start of the race and led the first 13 laps before a pack of cars utilizing the inside line made a charge towards the front, causing Dillon to drop to eighth in the running order.

The Welcome, N.C., driver pitted for right-side tires and fuel on lap 37. Dillon and his Gil Martin-led team played a conservative strategy, ultimately posting a 19th-place finish. They will start first in Sunday's 56th running of the Daytona 500.

Austin Dilon (Start - 1 / Finish - 19 / Laps Led - 13 / Points - N/A): "I can't say enough about Gil Martin and all of the guys on the No. 3 Dow Chevrolet Team.

They have given me an extremely fast and well-handling car.

We came out here tonight and did what we needed to do. We have the fastest car for Sunday and we sit on the pole."

Richard Childress Racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Ryan Newman , Paul Menard , Austin Dillon
Teams Richard Childress Racing
Article type Race report
Tags austin dillon, daytona 500, nascar-cup, paul menard, rcr, ryan newman